Following the Saturday Evening Girls Club

October 6, 2017

Natalie Romano Cinelli recently wrote an article for North End Waterfront reminiscing about her childhood, inspired by the recent historical fiction book, The Saturday Evening Girls Club. Natalie gives a charming tour of the sights, sounds, and smells of the 1950s North End, including time her at NBSS, when it was known as the North Bennet Street Industrial School.

She writes:

NBSS historic photo, courtesy The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

“On my recent visit back to the North End I just had to go to I AM Books in North Square and buy a copy of Jane Healey’s book, ‘The Saturday Evening Girls Club.’ Based on actual facts, it is a fictionalized account of four young immigrant women living in the North End in the early 1900s. The Saturday Evening Girls Club was founded by librarian Edith Guerrier and artist Edith Brown as a forum to bring art and literature and music to the young women of the North End. Their benefactor was Helen Storrow.

While I was reading the novel, I felt as if I was transported back in time. Even though I grew up in the North End in the 1950s, I could identify with these women because we shared some of the same experiences.

…I was with Caprice [a character from the book] and her friends at The North Bennet Industrial School and the North End library… As part of The Saturday Evening Girls Club, they discussed literature and listened to music and performed in plays. One time they performed for Mrs. Jack Gardner and other prominent ladies of Boston society at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

My friends and I would also spend hours after school at the North Bennet Industrial School. We learned how to cook and sew and put on plays. We modeled the skirts we made at a fashion show and we performed our plays for our parents at the school.”

Read the entire article here, and read more about our history here.

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